Humanitarian sources told VOA that federal Ethiopian troops and allied Eritrean forces have taken control of the towns of Axum and Adwa, the latest in a series of setbacks for forces led by the rebel Tigray People’s Liberation Front.
Tigrayan forces retreated from Adwa after suffering heavy losses, one of the sources said.
Last Tuesday, pro-federal government forces captured Shire in northwest Tigray, a major urban hub that hosts hundreds of thousands of people displaced by two years of fighting. The government has vowed to take control of the Tigray region's airports and federal institutions.
The news comes as negotiators for the federal government and the Tigray forces arrive in South Africa for peace talks convened by the African Union.
Diplomats have urged the parties to agree to a cease-fire, with U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken sounding the alarm Friday over “reports of significant loss of life, destruction, indiscriminate bombardment, and human rights abuses” in northern Ethiopia.
More than half a million people have been displaced in northwest Tigray alone since the fighting resumed on August 24, with tens of thousands more uprooted in the neighboring Amhara region.